Drawing and Painting

Studio Journal

Filming With Domestika

It was early morning and I was back on my old commuter train for the first time since I became a freelancer a few years ago. Bundled in with the other passengers who were mostly looking at their phones or just trying to get any extra few minutes of sleep. I on the other hand, with a heavy backpack filled with art tools, was wide awake and super excited.

To pass the time, I had been quietly reading one of those mindfulness books I strangely enjoy. The kind that usually advises that as long as you have a sensible bedtime and eat a fish once in a while you’ll still be able to dance the jitterbug on your 110th birthday. However my interest was actually far more captivated by this book’s overarching idea of a thing called ‘Ikigai’.

If you’re not familiar, Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese idea which loosely translates to ‘a reason for being‘. It refers to something that gives a person a sense of purpose and getting the most out of life. Basically, if you can find a balance in sustainable, meaningful work that you enjoy, then you’re on to a good thing.

After I arrived at Charing Cross Station I made my way over the Themes to Domestika’s new London studio where I was greeted by the friendly face of Ana. An outstanding producer who I was familiar with from our many video chats leading up to today. She introduced the rest of the team and showed me around. Rooms filled with fancy lighting rigs, film equipment, prop cupboards and a steady supply of biscuits in the crew kitchen, the place was a buzz with action and other creative teams prepping for their own courses. I was also shown the wonderful set that had been built for us to film in, perfect for the little storefront landscapes I’d be painting!

There’s something about the facades of shops that fascinates me. They’re like little eccentric characters each with their own quirky personality. Inviting you inside with unique architecture, colour, signage and people as they come and go. Every one of them is a little storyteller and it’s that life I strive to capture in my artwork and am thrilled to share in this course. 

I’ve worked on film sets before but this was my first time in front of the camera. It’s hard not to feel a little nervous but fortunately Domestika’s process for preparing a teacher for filming runs like a well oiled machine. Every stage from planning, filming and post-production, is led by a friendly and encouraging team member. Always happy to answer my questions and help every step of the way.

The days spent filming were so much fun! Alongside the lessons, we also filmed the introduction videos and trailer where I shared a little about myself and how I got started in the creative arts. These are some of the last things that were filmed so at this point I was much more comfortable in front of the cameras. We even ventured outside to paint by London’s Regents Canal and other fun bits in the studio throwing ink around like Jackson Pollock!

Essentially, ikigai is the reason why you get up in the morning. It is about feeling your work makes some difference in people’s lives. I absolutely love when people find their creative passion and I love the energy it can fill them with even more. Regardless of its art, music, writing, dance or play, helping others discover that spark is magical and is why I now pursue this career teaching and creating art.

The Domestika team were so passionate when it came to their craft and you could see how much they love this part of their job. Overall I only have positive things to say about the experience. It was a lot of fun to do and it all came together to make a course that I’m genuinely proud of! If you’d like to join us, and I hope you do, click the start button and use code MIKETHOMASART-LAUNCH

Bonus points if you can spot the little Pompon Polar Bear from my home studio! 

Art Journal